How to Fix the Wacom Cintiq from Shaky, Jittery, Wobbly, Jagged Lines

Cintiq-jittery-line-solution[1]I recently upgraded and purchased the Cintiq 24hd. I had a major problem with wobbly lines in Photoshop. The lines seemed to break up into small sections, especially curves. If you look around the net you will see Wacom claiming that this is largely due to interference issues from nearby equipment. As usual don’t believe them. I also called and they told me they never hear this issue about the 24hd – clearly baloney from a quick look around the net.  (see my post on scratches on Cintiqs to understand why I have such a frenemy relationship with them)   It’s possible that interference is the cause in some cases but it is clearly a driver-Photoshop-Windows related issue. After endless, and I mean endless, research, and trying everything on earth, I finally found what seemed to be an answer:  http://forum.wacom.eu/viewtopic.php?t=16043

The thrust of the approach there is to do a thorough removal of current Wacom driver (more thorough than simply remove program) and then install a legacy driver -6.36

After more usage I noticed unfortunately that the 6.36 driver has a slight lag to it. I tried using the same total clean install for the latest driver 63.84 but it also has the wobbly problem although slightly better. So basically my choice seemed to be either 6.36 with slight lag or 63.84 with slight wobble. If you look at this screenshot of 63.84 you can see how it started of clean but if you look at the swirls on top the wobble returns ( in the 63.84)63.84I also tried my Cintiq 24hd with an old Imac – no wobble at all but it is too slow for heavy usage. I have heard of people going the Hackintosh route because of this issue but it sounds extreme.

After a bit more experimentation I finally found the winning combo – smooth lines and super fast:

Important: Unplug the usb from cintiq to computer before you start uninstall process and plug it in only after installing new driver.

The basic approach is:

1) A thorough removal of current driver including all tablet related folders in program files and program files(x86) ( see the link above – I noticed that it is important to do this from an administration account because then it seems to remove all folders automatically, and probably other stuff too, just getting permission when you are still in a secondary account will not work.  You might have to stop a process in order to do this. Just go to the process tab in task manager and make sure to click – “show process from all users” if necessary, and stop the process blocking it.

2) Turn off – tablet input service– in windows system, then step on it, burn it and scatter its ashes to the wind.tablet input service3) Install driver – 6.2.0w5 (update: 6.3 6-3 is better, see later comment)- This is the winning driver! It is before they added windows ink option which I think has something to do with this. I tried this driver a while ago but it did not work consistently because I had not done it combined with the other steps.

4) Turn double click distance off or you will get occasional blotches:double click2double click large

5) Put your Cintiq screen on right side if you want to use it in a multi screen setup:screen on right

Bottom Line: This fix has solved it for me after lots of trying. I believe the issue is clearly related to windows ink-Photoshop-Wacom driver. Others have had success with other legacy drivers so I wonder if it depends on your system. However either way I could not solve it until I realized there were a few other factors such as the thorough removal issue, and the double click issue. It now works perfect on PS CS5 and CC. Surprisingly CS5 seems to work the slightest bit faster than CC but that might just be my settings.

Curious to hear anyone else’s experience with my combo fix.

Here are some of the sources I researched for this issue:

http://frenden.com/post/87110791272/huion-h610-pro-h610-k58-graphics-tablet-review

http://www.frameadvance.com/blog/2009/09/14/cintiq-jitter-problem-solved/

http://stephaniefizercoleman.com/blog/2014/4/1/cintiq-a-short-review

http://www.conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php/272239-Wacom-jitter-shaky-shake-wobble-problem-SOLVED!!!

https://forums.adobe.com/thread/1232389

http://forum.wacom.eu/viewtopic.php?t=13064&start=20

http://forum.wacom.eu/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=14584

http://forum.wacom.eu/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=15898&start=10

http://forum.wacom.eu/viewtopic.php?t=9642

http://forum.wacom.eu/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=16110

Update 5/30/14: I still have occasional skips and blotches with the 6.2.ow5.

Update 9/12/14: Because of the occasional blotches on the 6.2.0w5 driver I changed to legacy driver 6.3 6-3 which seems to give me both smoothness and almost no blotches.

Bottom line is that the legacy drivers seem to be the answer along with fixing the other variables mentioned above- experiment a bit if necessary till you find which legacy one works for your system, either 6.2.ow5, or 6.3 6-3 seem to be good candidates.

Let me quote Frenden:

“In Windows, be sure to install the drivers before plugging the tablet in. Windows has insidious default tablet drivers it will install otherwise. They don’t work well and you’ll swear there’s something wrong with your hardware. There isn’t. Deleting your HID stack in Device Manager is the only help here and even it may not work. You may have to reinstall a fresh copy of the OS. Additionally, in Windows 7 at least, disable Tablet PC services from the services menu. Uninstall Tablet PC components. Uncheck “Support Tablet PC Features” from the tablet driver icon in the system tray. Minimally, disable Pen Flicks. All of these things impact drawing performance.”

Basically: Always download drivers and install BEFORE plugging in a new tablet so Windows can’t vomit drivers at it.

If anyone comments on a similar experience please note which graphics card and system you have. I am curious if Nvidia has anything to do with this issue I have Quadro 2000.

Update 4/26/15:
At this point I decided to get a new computer and go with a mac because I never managed to perfectly fix Windows/Wacom so that I wouldn’t get occasional blotches and I always felt a slight disparity between my input and long lines in terms of wobble.

Overall I feel that OSX and Wacom drivers do much better together. The reason is probably that windows ink screwed everything up. Although recent Wacom driver update might have finally addressed the jagged issue.

There is an issue at this time with Yosemite-Photoshop compatibility and the shoe-lace effect where the end of the brush strokes do not taper smoothly. See my blog post here.

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60 Responses to How to Fix the Wacom Cintiq from Shaky, Jittery, Wobbly, Jagged Lines

  1. Christopher says:

    Why do you place the Cintiq as a second monitor, personal preference ? Will following this method have any effect if it’s placed as the primary monitor as I prefer ?

    I’m experiencing a driver issue with a Cintiq as well, it has been on going for the past six to eight months.

    • I have an old cintiq 21ux that I use as my second monitor. I use the new Cintiq 24hd as my main monitor. It should not make difference if you are using only one monitor – the solutions remain the same.

      • Christopher says:

        I have a image that contains some strokes I did in photoshop with smoothing, on and off. If you don’t mind, can you take a look at the strokes, specifically the strokes with smoothing on, and tell me whether I’m experiencing this issue or not ?

        I know this problem is experienced from my understanding with all Cintiqs, I’m hoping maybe, it bypassed mine 🙂

      • Anonymous says:

        This solution works on Photoshop and Sketchbook Pro both.

        Right click on photoshop.exe > go to properties > select Compatibility tab> click on ‘Change settings for all users’> Tick on ‘Run this program in compatibility mode for:’ > select your OS Win 7/8 > Tick on ‘Disable Display scaling on high DPI settings’ > Press ok

  2. Kroc says:

    Hi,

    I have a 21UX (2nd version). I just tried your tutorial and it works !!!
    Thanks a lot !

  3. Mark Oakley says:

    That was an excellent post on this subject!

    I have some of my own discoveries to add, but first a little back-story…

    I recently switched from a DIY digital drafting board setup (built using parts from a pair of Tecra M4 Penabled systems) to a Cintiq 21UX I recently found on eBay. -I was both dismayed and surprised to see that the vaunted Cintiq wasn’t able to produce a smooth line in Photoshop. (It works in CSP, but.., come on..! Photoshop *must* run.)

    Having grown used to very clean input from my decade-old Tablet PCs, I was actually preparing to retire the new Cintiq and go back to my old DIY setup. So much for the “great” Cintiq.

    Before this, however, I ran across the tip of rolling back drivers, and discovered with some surprise that the further back you go, the better they get. How very odd. -For a while I entertained the possibility that this was a deliberate action on Wacom’s part, designed to encourage people to buy their latest hardware by sneakily downgrading the quality of their old gear. Except you’re already using their latest hardware (the 24hd), and are experiencing the same problems. I don’t know which is worse; sneakiness or incompetence on Wacom’s part.

    Either way…

    After some experimenting, I wound up using the same driver I’d found success with on my DIY build, legacy driver, 6.1.7-3

    Behold! Smooth lines in Photoshop once again. I can actually draw once more in Adobe software! Huzzah!

    Anyway, I thought it might be a good idea to post this information so that others might benefit, and discovered that you had already begun this page. Rather than go to all the trouble of making my own, I figured I’d just chime in with my results.

    Cheers, and thank-you!

  4. Max Robert Arnborg says:

    My good sir, I am eternally grateful! You just turned my new Cintiq 24HD into a monster of an equipment in terms of line quality! The damn thing was @#$! with the newest drivers, I now realize. I’m working in TVPaint which also seemed to be having this problem with wobbly wavy piece of &#¤# lines no matter how quick and smooth I drew them. Wacom should be ashamed of themselves for selling expensive premium equipment with problems such as these. Fortunatly, there are people such as yourself to set things right. It is fixed! How wonderful! Thank you thank you thank you!

  5. Thankfully I decided to dig a little deeper until I finally see the light. Hopefully it will works for the Cintiq 13HD .
    Yoel, have you heard wether it has worked for CS6 and win 7 ?

    Thanks a lot for sharing your valuable experience.

    Andre from Brazil

  6. YES, that’s it! I’m back to say that’s worked wonderfully in my Cintiq 13HD + win7 + CS6.
    After days struggling with this issue I finally found a solution. Not a shortcut or something, but a real solution. Thank you so much Yoel! My next challenge will be make it works in a HP Touchsmart tm2 (win 7) which is also a tablet. One last question please. I remember the newest wacom driver allows to adjust the brightness of the CINTIQ 13HD and now, with the 6.3.6 I couldn’t find how to do that anymore. Any idea ?

    Thanks again for your crucial help.
    All the best

    • Not sure about the option of brightness adjustment on the driver. The Cintiq 24hd and the Cintiq 21 that I have experience with have a button behind the screen itself on the top right that allows for that.

  7. Zakkorn says:

    Thank you!
    Recently I tried to work in photoshop CC, (I stopped using my Cintiq 24HDT for quite some time), after I installed the newest drivers. I realized that my lines are kinda wobbly. The strange think is, that I never have this problem in Sketchbook Pro. But as I said, because I had to use it for almost a year and because usually I am drawing on sketchbook, I couldn’t remember if I had this problem before.
    After I did some search I found your fix. And I have to say that it worked.
    Then I remembered that I did not have this problem in the past, but the problem appeared after I put the newest drivers.
    And this is the sad part. Wacom sells very expensive equipment and still cannot figure its own software. Even, after many years in this field, alone.

    Thanks again for your help, Yoel!

  8. Flay says:

    Damn, for some reason this solution doesn’t work for me! I’ve tried six different versions of the drivers, and they all have the same problem. Perhaps I’m not installing the previous drivers correctly?

    • Make sure the previous drivers are fully uninstalled before you put the chosen driver in. Check all relevant folders on the C drive and manually uninstall all old Wacom folders before installing chosen driver. Be sure the other variables are consistent with what I wrote. Try driver 6.3 6-3 that is the best of the bunch in my experience but it might depend on your system- or get a Mac they do not have any of these issues from what I read.

      • Tale says:

        Nope, Mac user here and I’ve encountered this with my 13HD as well. A clean uninstall and using the legacy driver 6.3 6-4 from September 2013 worked! Thanks for the help, guys!

  9. Mats Lindh says:

    Thank you so much,

    This actually helped – hopefully it’ll stay solved for a while now. We’ve been having issues on and off for 6 months, after acquiring a new Intuos Pro to use together with a Cintiq UX21, and we’ve tried almost everything to solve the issue – including mailing back and forth with support. Now it works, at least until we try reconnecting the other tablet .. but that will be after the work is finished again. 🙂

  10. Renee Osborne says:

    I’m so glad I found this post! I have followed the instructions here after having purchased the 22HD and having the jitters and the lines seem to be working wonderfully.
    The only thing that is not working is the wacom control centre and the on screen keyboard + express key. I’m really disappointed as I found that being able to handwrite layer names made things so easy… can anyone help here?

    Thanks!

  11. Renee Osborne says:

    …thought I should add that the express key still has the onscreen keyboard function allocated to that particular button.

  12. Anwar Hanano says:

    I tried this solution, sadly it did not work. I still get the kinks in all my lines. This only occurs in CS6 photoshop though

  13. Anonymous says:

    I just wanna thank you .I use intuos pen and touch S and this solved the issue.Thanks again for the help.

  14. Aldous Massie says:

    Oh my god, I just found this post and it’s helped so so so much!

    Thank you thank you thank you!

  15. Hi guys,

    The 6.3.11 DRIVER has been released and it seems like lots of bugs has been fixed. Maybe pays off check this out.
    http://www.wacom.eu/index4.asp?pid=29&lang=en

    • Yoel says:

      Interesting. That driver does seem to be smooth. Worth trying at least.

    • Renee says:

      Hi Andre,
      Just curious if this new driver is still working for you? I saw your comment a while back but I’m still nervous to update as I don’t know how to remove all of the little hidden files without help if it goes wrong.

      I generally don’t have issues with the legacy drivers since I installed them but every now and again I need to uninstall and re- install when it gets a little bug. I would like to run my machine on the latest drivers if I can.

      Are you using Windows? I’m still on Windows 7.

  16. Dax Schaffer says:

    This worked beautifully. Until now I’ve just been doing lineart in Sketchbook Pro to get a clean smooth look. Now my lines finally look nice in Photoshop. A million thanks for explaining how to fix this!

  17. Mr draw says:

    Here i am 2015 and a post from 2013 is saving my life! thanks a bunch i’m quite surprised the problem persisted for so long and a 2 years old post would fix it! well i cant thank you enough my kind sir!

  18. Ele says:

    The old driver doesn’t seem to work with the new Cintiq 27QHD (with PS CC) ;_; I’m really getting anxious about this, as I spent so much money to get my new equipment. How they still haven’t figured out a fix for this?! Argh. If anyone has other ideas let me know. I’m desperate. Even the LazyNezumi worked only for a moment.(http://lazynezumi.com/)

    • CQuad says:

      Hi, I got the Cintiq 27QHD as well and the same issues as everyone else,
      exept that no solution worked.
      But I did everything said here AND installed the newest driver.
      The last thing that made the jittery lines and occasional blobs go away was
      deactivating every service in “services.msc” that you don´t need including windows update
      and windows search.
      Perhaps you only need to stop and disable windows update in services, because just after i did everything looks fine in photoshop.
      I hope it stays this way.

    • CQuad says:

      Finally my Cintiq works fine.
      I did everything mentioned above. I also use the usb 2.0 cable instead of the usb 3.0 now.
      After you´ve installed the newest driver and turn things like double click distance and windows ink off etc., reset photoshop settings: hold ctr+alt+shift and right click photoshop and select open and confirm reset.
      Finally it works flawlessly and I hope it stays this way.
      I was close to turning it back in the 30 days policy. I lost at least 28 hours of my life figuring out how to make this thing run it was supposed to run from the get go.
      I hope I could help and sorry for my bad english.

  19. Renee says:

    Hi All,
    I just wanted to stop by and say thankyou for the fix, have had it installed for a while now and have only had to re – install it once.

    Regarding the above comment by Andre, has anyone had any good/ negative experience with the updated drivers (6.3.11 ) as if the bugs are fixed I would love to update everything.. but I’m a little hesitant because it’s hard work removing the hidden files.

    Also, for those still having difficulty with photoshop linework – try Manga studio (aka Clip studio paint) as it creates impeccable linework, if that is what you are looking for.

    Cheers.

  20. sttony says:

    Okay so here is my problem , im using a 21 ux with my Imac , and everything else works fine , photoshop , sketchbook pro, illustrator, everything except on damn software … and that is Manga studios and Clip studio paint ( which essentially are the same program , but I tried both of them separately just to see if it was juist Manga that wasn’t working , and they both do the same thing )im getting allot of lag in this program , now two things that i’ve noticed right of the bat … first is that it doesn’t lag if i use my mouse , and also it lags only when i mak long lines and or coloring in a circular motion . Ive done everything from reinstalled the legacy drivers , to completely reinstalling manga … nothing recalibrated nothing … I really like this software to color and sometimes sketch in and now I cant use it cause its giving me this issue. Can someone please help me

  21. Dax Schaffer says:

    I have a question here for any 2D animators who might know the answer. This solution worked great for Photoshop, and I only had to reinstall drivers a few times when things messed up. However, I am trying to use the animation software TVPaint, and for the life of me the lines in it are unacceptably squiggly and difficult to create. I don’t think people on Macs have the same issue, as I have seen screencaps of the mac drawing interface that look fine. I am trying out TVPaint on a Windows 7 machine, and even if I use the Lazy Nezumi line smoothing plugin, it still doesn’t fix anything. It really makes me not want to support this program if it has so many issues still, which is a shame because I feel like even after all this time, there isn’t a definitively good and intuitive animation program that isn’t vector based. DigiCel Flipbook is limited and somewhat old at this point and has sloppy programming, though I’ve used it many times because it has a very good pencil tool. TVPaint is really powerful, but still filled with odd issues and strange interface design. If anyone knows how to fix squiggly lines using a cintiq on a windows machine with it or suggest a better program, I am all ears. Thanks!

  22. Anonymous says:

    wow, and all this time I thought it was me….Thanks so much!

    Paul.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Thank you so much! My Intuos 4 very recently became jittery after working fine for over a year. Nothing had changed, so I was afraid it was the hardware.
    Turning off the tablet PC thing, Ink didn’t help, but the Double Click Distance turned out to be the culprit! I didn’t even need to reinstall the drivers Thanks again, you’re a lifesaver:)

  24. Anonymous says:

    Thank you so much! This solved the problem I had for two months. At first I thought it was my hand shaking to much, but apparently the lines went smooth and fine when I zoom in. After I follow the instruction on this page the line when perfectly smooth even if I zoom out!

  25. Aeridanus says:

    This problem showed up all of a sudden tonight, and your solution worked (setup: Photoshop CC, Windows 10, Cintiq 24HD)! Many, many thanks for this. I started to think about pressure sensitivity issues with the hardware, but once again, it’s the sh*tty communication in the love triangle of Adobe, Windows and Wacom…

  26. Dave says:

    Help please!! – Just purchased a cintiq 13HD and running Mac OS X El Capitan 10.11.5 – get wobbly lines in lower left corner and lower right corners. Not just a little wobble but a massive deviation!! If I were to draw several lines next to one another they all follow a similar pattern. Its not just as it draws a line in photoshop (elements) or sketch book etc but even if you were to hover the pen over the screen as a cursor you can see where it deviates from the pen- almost like the cintiq screen isn’t flat!? I tried initially the driver which came with the cintiq – 6.3.11 and I didn’t notice this deviation for a week but then last night and its driving me mad. It is not useable and if I can’t fix it I will be on the verge of smashing it up!!!- driving me nuts!!
    Tried to follow the above advice and download driver 6.36 but told my Mac wouldn’t install it as “This driver will not run on an OS X version previous to 10.6.” Any help for a bit of a computer novice would be appreciated. Cheers

  27. Robb says:

    Hello, Just passing along information. I had the same issue. After a lot (A LOT) of troubleshooting I found something that has worked for me. I am using a Cintiq 24HD on an older iMac (27-inch, Mid 2010) and after uninstalling and reinstalling all of Adobe Suite and Cintiq software and drivers…what has been working to get my Cintiq to produce good line quality is getting a new stylus. I got a Wacom Art Pen (KP701E2) from Amazon. The Cintiq 24 HD comes with a “Grip Pen”. This “Art Pen” has been great. Make sure all drivers and everything is up to day. I hope you get it working!

  28. Kris says:

    Got same issue, I don’t know why today I got ugly wobbly brush stroke, yesterday my cintiq is fine.
    Try clean uninstall and reinstall a couple driver version but it doesn’t solve the problem.

    This is that ugly strokes that I got: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B57MVW9l891IcDNCbzRsY2xVaUk/view?usp=sharing

    I’m confuse because this is happened suddenly, and the eraser still works great, smooth lines.

    • LadyK says:

      Kris,

      This may be a cliche question, but have you tested photoshop options, such as spacing? It looks like that’s the issue–from what I can tell anyway.

    • Anonymous says:

      Your problem is the brush settings in Photoshop, not the wobbly line. Turn down the spacing and make sure you dont have random opacity/flow jitter turned on.

  29. Stijn Windig says:

    Amazingly, this is stil a major problem..
    The older driver does not work for me, it produces a terrible offset. I’ve been fighting with this for months now, and my work is being crippled.
    Has anyone found another solution?
    Thanks!

  30. anon says:

    I am also suffering with this. 24″ HD Cintiq, Late-2009 27″ iMac, El Capitan. Drawing diagonally results in comically wavy lines. Cannot explain how frustrating this is.

    • Yoel Judowitz says:

      I have recently noticed that the new pen nibs can also create the wobbly line. I have a somewhat similar setup as you (24hd, late 2103 Imac Yosemite) When I tried using one of the newer sharper nibs I noticed a wavy line on the diagonal (the driver issue wiggle goes in all directions). I found the older style rounder standard nib on Amazon and the wiggle was gone. The way to tell the difference is that the old style nibs are glossy all around – the newer style is a fraction thinner and longer and has a more matte finish.

  31. Nina says:

    Hello! This solution worked perfectly on my desktop and my older laptop, thanks!

    My problem now is my new laptop- it seems to work at first, but then after a few strokes it goes back to being wobbly and such. My worry is that it’s because I haven’t done a thorough uninstall of the software, and the link you provided that teaches you how doesn’t seem to work anymore. Can you tell me which files from which folders I need to delete? Thanks!

  32. Patricia says:

    I have been having this same issue. I have recently picked up a Cintiq 13HD, it is a wonderful device, but the line jitter problem is so glaring and seemingly unsolvable; searching and using older drivers does not seem to correct this issue.

    Specs:
    Macbook Pro
    OS Sierra 10.12.2

    Current Tablet Driver: 6.3.19-10 (up to date)
    Currently using Photoshop CC 2017 (cc2015.5 had the same line jitter)

    • Stijn says:

      Same here with the cintiq 13 HD.
      After 6 months of unhelpful contact with Wacom’s helpdesk, I’ve sold the cintiq. No other choice.. tried all the drivers and every possible hack.

      I’m currently afraid to upgrade to windows 10 on my main machine, because I think it’s likely that the upgrade will render my big cintiq useless. I really hope that wacom will release drivers that actually work soon. It would also help if microsoft adressed the ‘windows ink’ issue with wacom drivers.

      The irritating thing is that the wacom helpdesk suggests all manner of stupid excuses. Move your monitor to the right. Some machines in your house are interfering. The last one I got was “we’re sorry, something is wrong with your computer”.

    • Ariel. A says:

      Hey!

      Hey I originally had this problem and had long fixed it but it has seemed to resurface!

      My spec are the same but I’m in a bit of a pickle. I cleared out my computer and all it’s drivers but can’t remember which one I used to fix the problem. It ran so smoothly with no jitters/squiggles in lines at all. But now, I’m unsure whether the issue is that I updated to sierra or can’t find the proper drive again.

      I’ll update this if I manage to fix it again 🙁

    • Ariel. A says:

      The issue is sierra afterall, it makes all the drivers for mac wonky thus the jitter and imperfection of lines.

      I just u[dated to sierra and now I’m back to this situation, ugh.

  33. Pingback: Finally no jitter issues anymore + new digital drawing! – NEVER STOP BEING WEIRD

  34. kieron says:

    Thank you so much. I was going through hell trying to get my intuos 5 to work with win 10.
    Your Advice is gold dust, and I leave a lot wiser on how to wrangle and deal with the eternally crap Wacom drivers.

  35. Anonymous says:

    I must say, that the issue is not directly tie to wacom, I think. Just got same crap while drawing with a mouse.

  36. Kitty says:

    I have in my 18 years of experience building my own windows computers find that many software developers have found it necessary to provide a tool in order to completely remove all traces of any past driver or software version in order for their new software/driver to install and fix the problem that the old software/driver was causing.
    with the cost of these items why and the HE-double-tooth-picks would Wacom not provide a bit of software that would completely remove any trace of theirs or any other tablet driver that could interfere with a new driver that is supposed to fix issues that they know very well causes many of the problems that their loyal customers are having???? this bugs me to no end. As others have stated the new Cintiq pro 13/16 pen displays at $999 & $1499 are having the same problems.

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